What a crazy year for ITFA’s Emerging Leaders (EML’s) – from a name change to new faces on the panel including more international presence from Singapore, India, Netherlands and of course the UK. We are looking to expand our network in Europe, Middle East, Pan Africa and the Americas too – do reach out to the Emerging Leaders panel if you are interested in being part of the initiative.


2019 has been a very active year for the EML’s – we kicked off in March with Risk Distribution in Trade Finance and Career options, and advice in a FinTech which kicked off at Tradeteqs office in London on the 20th of March 2019, followed by a networking reception. The seminar ended with Andre Casterman – Head of ITFA FinTech Committee providing valuable career advice to the participants including the following Do’s and Don’ts:


Take Risks

Keep learning – up skill

Get out of your comfort zone

Find a role model or mentor to aspire to be like


Don’t look at job titles – your reputation is more important

Don’t chase money, follow your passion and money will come to you

Don’t copy your neighbour, everyone’s career path is different

The event was so successful that we had to ask people to leave the building, we hope the future events are as well attended. To view photos of the event, please click here (available to ITFA members only).


In the second quarter, Natasa Ruiter hosted an event at the ITFA NERC morning session to explain more about the ITFA Emerging Leaders initiative to her peers in the Netherlands followed by a networking lunch including some Trade Finance veterans from some Dutch institutions.

ITFA Board members were invited to lecture an elective module on international trade finance at Cass Business school, City University based in London. The Emerging Leaders also took part in a panel “guide to careers in Trade Finance” which was moderated by Johanna Wissing.

Sean Edwards also lectured at ISCTE Business School in Lisbon on Trade Finance in April of last year which was a very successful event.

Olga Berlinskya and AIG hosted an event on how securitisation works in Trade Receivables followed by networking drinks at AIG’s roof top with stunning views of the City of London.

Summer 2019 also saw the launch of tradeXplain, an educational trade finance website aimed at young professionals. Pouya Jafari, the website’s founder, presented the website for the first time at an event hosted by ITFA and AIG in the summer.

tradeXplain publishes interviews with experts in trade in a simple and engaging manner, attempting to bridge the knowledge gap that exists between experienced and novice trade financiers. The website is supported by ITFA and editorial consultant Shannon Manders.

Go to for a first look and stay tuned for lots of new content in 2020.


At ITFA’s 46th annual conference in Budapest the ITFA Young Trade Financier of the Year Award was presented by Duarte Pedreira, Head of Young Professionals / Emerging Leaders.

The initiative was set up to recognise the efforts of ITFA Young Professionals in the trade finance industry, allowing them to showcase their ideas and their work for the benefit of the industry.

Young professionals were encouraged to submit projects which are designed to make a significant contribution to the trade finance industry.

A BIG congratulations to: Charlotte Prior (Gulf International Bank), Alero Arubi and Nigel Atta-Mensah (Crown Agents Bank)

This trio of ITFA Young Professionals narrowed in on the trade dilemma, looking at issues between buyers and sellers when it comes to sending and receiving payment, risks and trust. The team looked at some of the key risks around transport, currency, government and financial risk.


In November ITFA Emerging Leaders hosted there first “life lab session” the idea is to have more interactive sessions on life skills in the work place. We kicked off our first session “10 things that ruin work life balance”, the session was hosted by Veronika Koroleva – Partner at Gunnercooke LLP and Coach and Mentor at How to be human at work.  Veronika explained there is no real work life balance but there are ways of improving it and making it work for you, she covered some analogies and discussed them with the future emerging leaders.

Thereafter ITFA Emerging Leaders hosted there first Trade Finance related pub quiz and also raised £570 for charity (incl. gift aid £613.75). The quiz consisted of a FinTech terminology round, UCP, International monuments, Geography, International cuisine, International Sport, International History, International Trade Finance Brands and International music.

Congratulations to the winning team; Trade Finance Global and Union Bank – the prize is to host next year’s quiz – good luck to the team! Also a very well-done to the ITFA Emerging Leaders for organising the quiz.

Duarte Pedreira and  Peter W. Deisenbeck hosted an introduction to Trade Finance students at Munich University of Applied Sciences – Banking & Finance in December 2019 – full story to be shared in the next newsletter.

We look  forward to 2020 with a fresh faced team to deliver more exciting, diverse, interactive sessions for the future Emerging Leaders.